Saturday, July 21, 2012

Preparing For Company...A Lot of Company

I mentioned a few posts ago that I would be very busy over the next week, but I didn't mention why.  With less than a week to go, I'll share:  we are hosting my husband's family next weekend for a big beach birthday bash to celebrate his mom and step-dad's 65th birthdays.  To most of you, that probably wouldn't seem like a big deal.  If I were to host my family, that would be ten people (half of them us!).  My husband's family, however, is much bigger.  In fact, it's over twice as big.  Next weekend we will be hosting twenty-two people overnight and two more who have chosen to stay at a nearby hotel.  I love to plan parties and entertain, but this is a big undertaking!  In the  end, though, I know it will be a fun weekend.

Where does one begin on the laundry list of "to-do's" when you're hosting a large group?  For me the natural response to that question is food!  In my opinion, that's the best part of a party.  We will be serving three main meals and I wanted to create a menu that had variety, but was easy to prepare and able to serve our large group.  I decided on chicken tacos, a BBQ of burgers, brats and hot dogs, and BBQ pulled pork sandwiches.  I am hoping that these will please most of the crowd and fill everyone's bellies!

I am trying a new recipe with my BBQ pulled pork this time around.  My mom has made it in the past and it is pretty tasty.  Whenever I make pulled pork, I use a shoulder roast.  It shreds very nicely and if you keep your eye out you can find a decent sale on this cut.  I am optimistic that this will turn out great and be quite tasty with baked beans and coleslaw on the side.

Since I love to bake, I have spent a lot of time looking for cute beach-themed or summer cupcake ideas.  One day I came across these beach bear cupcakes.  They are just too cute to pass up!  I plan to use a vegan chocolate cake recipe I received from a friend and top it with some blue buttercream frosting.  While the beach blankets are a cute idea, I am just going to put a Teddy Graham in a Gummy Lifesaver and poke a cute little cocktail umbrella into the cupcake.  I think these will be a hit with the kiddos!  For an adult pleaser, I plan to make vanilla cupcakes from scratch with a raspberry cream frosting.  Perfect for someone with a sweet tooth!

I have many more goodies I will be making as well and I'll share them with you if they turn out well.  Desserts are a very important part of a party weekend and I hope to be able to squeeze in some time to make some extra treats.  My husband has requested the homemade ice cream sandwiches I shared with you previously and I am craving some homemade caramel corn.  I better sneak in some extra workouts this week, because it is not going to be a healthy weekend!

Since this is the first time that the majority of his family will see our new home, we have been working hard decorating the interior and finishing up some projects.  What great motivation it has turned out to be!  It has made me so happy to update the pictures in our frames and finally pull them out of their storage boxes.  My oldest guy came up to me today and said, "Mom, I really love the family sign and the pictures you put on top of the fireplace downstairs.  It looks so nice.  I love coming out of my room and seeing what else you've done."

Too sweet!  All this work, though, is making me incredibly tired at night.  Back in the day weekends were meant for going out, sleeping in, and relaxing.  Now they consist of waking with the sun, running errands and working on the house all day, and being ready to climb into bed at 9:00 exhausted.  My guess is that once the whirlwind weekend is over, I'll be ready to crash at 7:00 when my kids go to bed!  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Life is good!

Ten Silly Cousins (one has escaped to the floor!)

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